Most of the food you eat probably did not come from Singapore.
It’s an unavoidable consequence of living in a country with a land area smaller than Rhode Island, the US’s tiniest state, and a population five times more. Less than one percent of the land mass here is dedicated to food production. As a result, Singapore has to import over 90 percent of its produce.
While the government has diversified its food sources, climate change is reducing arable land worldwide. Thanks to Covid-19, global supply chains have also experienced major disruptions. Meanwhile, people’s appetite for meat and seafood is predicted to grow by 30 percent in the next decade.
To counter these effects, local authorities have launched the ’30 by 30′ initiative that aims to provide 30 percent of the residents’ nutritional needs by 2030. Singapore farmers who use high tech methods such as vertical farming and recirculating aquaculture systems can tap into government support, and local produce are given a label for consumers to easily identify them.
Today, you can buy sorrel to make a sauce for your baked salmon or xiao bai cai for a stir fry. Check out locally raised barramundi when thinking about your next barbecue or steam a red snapper Cantonese-style. When brunch hits, poached Singapore eggs are a luxurious topping on your avocado toast.
Yes, the costs are slightly higher than their overseas equivalents, but with people latching on to the support local movement, why not extend it to farmers here? Read on to find out where you can buy local produce online.
For salads, wraps, condiments, and other Western dishes
There are plenty of options here, so there’s no reason not to eat your vegetables (I heard you, mum).
Just Produce grows ice plant and mustard green, which would add a different dimension to your regular salads, and their sorrel can be used in the classic French sauce. The Little Red Farm produces tuscan kale, perfect with butter, and microgreens to toss with quinoa.
If you’re having an Italian night, look to VertVegies for arugula with prosciutto and burrata. Comcrop provides herbs to elevate any meal, while Sustenir offers packaged mixes for an easy meal.
For soups, stir-fries, steaming, and other Asian cooking
If you want a stir fry, Red Dot Farm’s nai bai goes sumptuously with garlic. Similarly, Yili Farm‘s kang kong is great with sambal belacan for the ubiquitous local dish. Reach for the oyster sauce when you have Leafy’Me’s xiao bai cai or enjoy it in soups.No char kway teow and bibimbap is complete without bean sprouts, and both Bean Farm and Yummy Sprouts will sort you out. For hot pot sessions at home, serve it with a platter of oyster mushroom, black fungus, and abalone mushroom from Kin Yan .
For dessert and a rich source of antioxidants, Kok Fah grows aloe vera, which they use in a mango pudding.
For grilling, steaming, or searing fish
Fish is another locally made product that’s plentiful here, and most are either gutted and scaled or filleted for easy cooking.
For your next family gathering, consider the grey mullet from The Fish Farmer or jade perch by Fin by Boat; both would make a good candidate for steaming with soy sauce, ginger, and coriander. If you’re planning a barbecue, stuff the red snapper from Blucurrent with herbs and lemon, wrap it in aluminium foil and throw it on the grill.
For something even more fuss-free, Ace Fish Market sells smoked sea bass marinated with dill or black pepper. All it needs is a quick sear. If a microwave is all you got, Kuhlbarra has a ready-to-cook barramundi chowder that only requires reheating.
For the weekend brunch, your baking needs, and more protein
Eggs are non-negotiable when having brunch, especially if you’re making cakes or planning to get swole. So whether you’re a baker or a bodybuilder, check out these local producers.
Chew’s Agriculture raises their chickens humanely and sells organic to cage-free options, while N & N Agriculture – who pioneered pasteurised egg shells in Singapore – offers cooked dishes like tamagoyaki and poached eggs.
There’s also Singapore’s largest egg producer Seng Choon Farm, who use technology to raise their chickens in a stress-free environment. Among their varieties are first-born eggs, or the first lays from young hens. These are believed to be more nutritious and better tasting.
A left-field option to the usual protein sources is Jurong Frog Farm that, you guessed it, rears frogs for consumption. Sold either fresh or frozen, their frog legs are ideal when the porridge craving hits. Alternatively, batter and fry them, then season with salt and pepper for a supremely underrated dish.
Singapore doesn’t have space to farm cows, but we sure have goats. Enter Hay Dairies, Singapore’s only goat farm. Operating since 1988, the company only breeds dairy goats for milk (no lamb chops, sorry) that are fed non-GMO, highly nutritious alfalfa hay from the US.
They also do not feed their goats growth hormones and are free from antibiotics. Once the goats are milked, the dairy is pasteurised without any preservatives or additives. Get the original flavour or the chocolate milk.
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore.